Was listening to a lecture by Maulana Ahmed Ali and he mentioned about the Tatars being prophesised by Rasulullah (SAW). So did a bit of research and found a bit on this leader of the battle of Ain Jaloot (the actual battle against the Tatars)
Saif ad-Din Qutuz
In the 7th Hijri century, the Tatars launched one of their largest assaults on the land of the Islamic Khilafah, resulting in the seizure of the Khilafah capital, Baghdad, the killing of the Khalifah, and the occupation of three quarters of the Muslim land. At that time, one of the greatest Muslim leaders in the Islamic history emerged. He had pride in his religion and in the fact that he rescued his Ummah. This was in one of the most decisive battles in history back then. The leader was the "Victorious King" Mahmood Sayfu-d-Deen Qutuz, and the battle was that of "Ain Jaloot".
The Tatarian Invasion
The Tatars started breaking into the Muslim land towards the end of 656 Hijri. When the Khalifah, Abu Ahmad Al-Musta'sim Billah, began preparing his armies to block the invasion, his minister "Al-`Alkami" hoaxed him by convincing him to make peace with the invaders. Al-Alkami, who was a non-Arab Shia`, had secret correspondence with the Tatars, promising them to halt any resistance against them given that they appoint him as Khalifah and allow him to establish his own Shia` state in Baghdad.
When Al-Alqami deceived the leader of the believers and made him think that a peace agreement was finally reached with the Tatars, Al-Musta'sim departed along with his ministers and the scholars and leaders of Baghdad to meet the leader of the Tatars, who killed them all, and then occupied Baghdad and violated the honour of its Muslim occupants in a hideous manner.
The traitorous Al-`Alqami could not achieve his dream, however, because the Tatars, who knew that the person who betrays his leader wouldn't spare his enemy, killed him too.
Following the takeover of Baghdad, Muslims encountered a large number of defeats, and many more cities were captured. The Tatars, after seizing all of Iraq, started the demolition of the land of Shaam (which represents Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and parts of Egypt and Iraq), seeking retaliation from its people because of their refusal to surrender.
With the downfall of Damascus, the Tatars headed towards Egypt and Morocco, the last stronghold of Muslims on the face of earth at that time, which, if seized, the whole Muslim Ummah would have collapsed.
After that, the leader of Tatars "Katabgha" sent, as usual, a letter full of threats to the Ameer of Egypt. Some of what he said was: "We have demolished the land, orphaned the children, tortured the people and slain them, made their honoured despised and their leader a captive. Do you think that you can escape from us? After a while you will know what's coming to you..."
Despite the linguistic weakness of the Tatars' letters, it had a great influence on Muslims back then because of their weakness and low morals.
Our Ameer Qutuz, who was raised according to the prophet's teachings, had a different reply to that of the other Muslim leaders: he killed the Tatarian delegation and left their corpses hanging in his capital, lifting his soldiers and people's spirit on the one hand, and putting down his enemy's and that of their spies and loyals on the other hand. His action was in accordance with the poetry:
The Sword speaks louder than books, Its sharp edge distinguishes gravity from child-play.
When Qutuz's reply reached the Tatars through their spies in Egypt, they realised that they were facing a different type of leader, with whom they have not dealt before.
Had they studied the history, they would have noticed that our victorious leader copied the example of Haroon Ar-Rashid and his reply to the Roman leader "Nakfoor", and that of "Al-Mu'tasim" to the governor of "Amouriyah", and they would have avoided clashing with him.
Preparing for the Battle
Qutuz did not forget that making such a critical reply will result in a severe and brutal war against him and his people, for which they must prepare.
So he started preparing his people with the weapon of belief and unity, prior to arming them with the weapons of steel. To achieve unity, he sent to the dispersed leaders and Ameers of Mamaleek, such as "Beebers Al-Bandakari" who was later known as "Beebers the superior", asking them to discard their marginal differences and unite to defeat their main enemy, the enemy of Islam.
Qutuz, knowing the important role scholars play and their influence on the masses, seeked their help and support, asking them to supplicate for victory, and to urge the people to stand for their religion, taking the scholars as his close counselors and advisers.
The most renowned scholar who contributed to this cause was the "Sultan of Scholars" Al-`Izz Bin Abdis-Salam. Qutuz seeked a fatwah (verdict) from Bin Abdis-Salam which would allow him to impose more taxes on the public in order to equip the Muslim army. The honest scholar of Islam made it clear that the governor can not impose new taxes, unless the governor's own wealth, and that of his leaders and close-by's, is all spent. Al-`Izz even forced the selling of the Mamaleek army leaders, because they were not legally set free from their slavery (the Mamaleek were mostly slaves who participated in the armies, and gained power gradually until they controlled the armies).
The needed money was obtained without forcing extra taxes on the people, who, witnessing the complete compliance and submission of their leader to the Laws of Allah as illustrated by the sincere scholars of Islam, woke up to the reality and were convinced with the legality of their leaders, and realised their duties in Jihad and sacrifice for Allah's Cause to stop the invaders from occupying their Muslim land.
The Battle's Process
Observing the saying of Allah's Messenger (s.a.w.) "the people who are attacked in the center of their land (i.e. are on the defensive) will be dishonoured", Qutuz ordered his army to start moving to confront the foe. He also sent an exploitative battalion under the leadership of Beebers towards Gazza in Palestine, which confronted parts of the Tatarian army at small scales and beat them, covering the movements of the main army under the leadership of Qutuz, which finally arrived near the Palestine coastline where the crusaders had some strongholds. Qutuz warned the crusaders and made it clear to them that he could smash them before he meets the Tatars, if they do not stay neutral in this war. Realising the authenticity of this threat and seeing the power of the Muslim army, the crusaders were forced to stay neutral, especially that their numbers and the weakness of their armies would not allow them to clash with the Muslims.
When the main Muslim army came close to the enemy, Qutuz, may Allah have mercy on him, selected the battle's field, in a valley surrounded by mountains, and he stabilised some of his soldiers on the mountains to protect the back of the army against any possible crusade, Tatarian or other treachery from within.
The Tatarian army finally reached the area in which it would face its deadly end. Fighting erupted and the balance drifted towards the Tatars; their army's right wing started overcoming the left wing of the Muslim army. When the Muslims started retreating, Qutuz climbed on a rock, throwing his helmet away, shouting "Wa Islamah.. Wa Islamah..", urging the army to keep firm and fight Allah's enemies. The frustrated leaders of the army looked towards that voice to see their leader's flushed face, hitting angrily with his sword, infiltrating between the Tatars' rows leaving behind dozens of dead corpses. Qutuz's courage stunned his leaders who promptly followed his footsteps, lifting the morality of the Muslim army.
Minutes later, the battle became in favour of the Muslims, until the Tatarian army was shattered, many of its soldiers being killed or captivated, and the defeated troops ran away, following the death of their leader and the captivation of his son. No one in the Tatarian army escaped death or capture, because those who ran away were slain by the people in Shaam.
When the glorious news reached Damascus city and its surroundings, the Muslims rejoiced and regained their honour and esteem, and began to attack the Tatars. They also attacked those who supported the Tatars, including some crusaders, Batini (`Alawi), Shi`a, and some deviated Sufis.
When the Tatars realised that their state in the Islamic East was fading, and that Muslims regained their power, they escaped towards their homeland, which eased Qutuz's efforts to liberate all of Shaam in a few weeks.
Qutuz rewarded the Muslim Ameers who helped achieve this victory, by returning to some of the Ayyoubi kings their states, and appointing some of his bravest chiefs as governors.
The reasons behind the victory
If we are to inspect what led to this great victory, we will find that these reasons did not -and will not- change since the first revelation, until the Day of Judgment.
The first condition is to have the right belief, and the legitimate and truthful scholars whom we refer to, who do not fear a ruler or a governor in defence of Allah's religion. This was represented by the "Sultan of Scholars" Al-Izz Bin Abdis-Salam, may Allah have mercy on him.
The second condition is to have a sincere leader who works to uplift the Word of Allah and to defend His religion solely for His Sake. This was represented by the "Victorious King" Qutuz, may Allah have mercy on him too.
The third and most important cause was the unity of Muslims under the one true banner of Tawheed, sharing the same concern and responsibility, disregarding the minor differences between them.
The Battle's Outcome
The direct outcome of this battle was the liberation of the Muslims from the Tatarian rule and their corrupt creed, lifting the spirit and esteem of Muslims, and spreading the correct pure creed which teaches Jihad and forbids laziness and surrender.
Before this battle, some narrations say that a Tatarian woman would pass by a group of Muslim men, she would command them to wait for her until she could find a knife to slay them, and they would follow her orders obediently, waiting for hours, and even days, until someone comes and slays them! However, after this victory, Muslims started hunting the vanquishing troops of Tatars slaying them wherever they could meet them.
Another major outcome was the establishment of a powerful Islamic state after it was about to vanish. This state stood for centuries defending Islam and Muslims against anyone's avidity and greed.
This battle also proves to Muslims the ever-lasting norm: no matter how weak and fragmented Muslims get, once they go back to the pure and straight Path of Allah's Prophet and his rightly guided successors, they will be victorious.
It also proves that, no matter how strong and superior the banner of disbelief and tyranny might become, it will be defeated one day.
It is also a warning to those apostate rulers dominating the Muslims, whose fate will not differ from that of their predecessors, when their rule and power vanishe.
[This article was published in the 16th issue of Nida'ul Islam magazine (http://www.islam.org.au), December - January 1996-97]
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